Hitchhiker by Claire Bugeja
You don’t notice it, at first.
It infiltrates your life slowly, measuredly, amalgamating with your life seamlessly. It’s only when it begins to dig into your brain with fingers of liquid darkness that you notice it for the first time, the chill dread of its reality dripping down your spine, numbing your fingers, turning your legs to mush.
It’s in your thoughts, a cruel voice of mockery that chills you to the core. It’s in your every waking hour and it even accompanies you to bed. It’s in the restless tossing-turning hours of trying to fall asleep. It follows you in your dreams, and greets you when you wake.
Others notice it later, but no one understands. It’s clear in their faces, their disappointment loud and bare. The cruelty of it drives you to despair, to hours crying alone in some forgotten place, your tears dripping down your face and onto the bathroom tiles, locked up on the ground floor of a building you despise. Your silent, choking sobs echo in the darkness, terror of the unknown gripping your very being.
And still it haunts you everywhere, telling you you’re to blame.
And, silly, you believe it, because everyone else agrees.
And your thoughts turn bleak and grey, and still it grows stronger, till it has you in its grasp one day, with its gaping maw hovering an inch from your jugular, and you’re torn; you can’t give in, not now, not after so long, but the sweet abyss of silence yawns before you and you yearn to just step forward, let it snatch you away in its icy embrace –
And you push it away, you triumph for today, and for just one day, the darkness lifts slightly, and you remember what it feels like to live without terror.
But it is short-lived. The next day is worse, it is always worse, when the numbness returns and your mind is screaming for help, when all around you everyone drops away, and no one understands, and no one helps, and no one cares. You are alone with your thoughts and the dark black hunger crawling in your veins, with that hated voice whispering foully in your ear, a soul gripped in the merciless clawed hands of the dread monster Anxiety, and you are alone.
About the Author: Claire is a twenty year old student studying English and Classics at the University of Malta. She discovered writing at an early age and hasn’t stopped writing since.